True visionaries like Dhirubhai Ambani of Reliance Industries, and Ardeshir Godrej; the founder of Godrej group of companies,have paved the way for the Indian businessman on a global front. India has come a long way in the world of business. Entrepreneurship in India is not new. There are many Indian companies listed in the Fortune 500 list as well there are many successful businessmen in India.
The new breed of businessmen in India boast of achievements have inspired the world. The inspiring thing about some of them is that despite the geopolitical drama that surrounded India, they have managed to buy chunks of business in not just their own country but also first world countries.
It’s time to celebrate these achievers as PeriGrow salutes them:
- Mukesh Ambani: India’s richest person has added $2.6 billion to his wealth, even as his $55 billion (market cap) Reliance Industries, which owns the prized KG-D6 offshore oilfield, is battling the central government’s decision to review an increase in gas prices approved by the previous regime. Telecom arm Reliance Jio Infocomm bought additional telecom spectrum for $1.8 billion in a February auction, and is due to roll out 4G services using younger brother Anil’s fibre optic network. In May, Reliance paid $655 million for media outfit Network18, which owns, among much else, television channels CNBC-TV18 and CNN-IBN, and publishes Forbes India.
Fast Fact: While son Akash works in telecom arm, Mukesh’s wife Nita joined Reliance’s board, becoming its first ever woman director.
- Dilip Sanghvi: Founder of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, India’s most valuable drug company (market cap: $27 billion), becomes India’s second-richest person, overtaking steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal. Sun’s shares surged after it acquired scandal-tainted rival Ranbaxy Laboratories from Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo for $4 billion in April. The deal awaits approvals, including from the Competition Commission of India which is examining whether it would give Sun a monopoly on some drugs. Some clouds: The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has issued an import alert for Sun’s factory in Gujarat. Sun’s subsidiaries, Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories and Taro Pharmaceuticals, have both recalled some drugs this year.
Fast Fact: In February, Sun appointed its first woman director to the board.
- Azim Premji: The tech tycoon’s Wipro, the country’s third-largest outsourcer, has picked up speed, reporting a 30 percent jump in net profits to $351 million in the last quarter. Premji’s son Rishad, who heads strategy, has lately been orchestrating some big moves, notably a $195 million acquisition of atco I-Tek, the IT services arm of Canada’s atco. In July, Wipro set up a $100 million venture capital fund also under Rishad’s charge that will invest in tech startups.
Fast Fact: Premji’s private investment arm has stakes in fashion etailer Myntra-now part of Flipkart, considered India’s Amazon-and ecommerce firm Snapdeal.
Net Worth $16.4 Billion.
- Pallonji Mistry: Construction patriarch, who chairs Shapoorji Pallonji Group, got a $3.4 billion boost this year thanks to the rising value of his 18.4 percent stake in Tata Sons, holding outfit of the $103 billion (revenues) Tata Group whose chairman is his younger son Cyrus. Tata’s star performer is Tata Consultancy Services, now India’s most valuable company with a market cap of $83 billion. Net profits at auto flagship Tata Motors, whose chief executive committed suicide in February, tripled in the latest quarter to $885 million riding on rising sales at Jaguar Land Rover. Older son Shapoor, a horse racing enthusiast, chairs and runs the family’s privately held construction to consumer goods empire.
Net Worth $15.9 Billion.
- Lakshmi Mittal: The steel baron slips from the second spot after seven years though his ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, is doing somewhat better. It reported a $52 million profit for the June quarter, its first since 2012 amid recovering demand in Europe and North America. To pare its $17.4 billion debt, it is selling a 50 percent stake in a Kentucky steel plant that it owns with Brazil’s Gerdau to Nucor for $770 million. But Mittal hasn’t given up on new investments: ArcelorMittal, along with Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, bought a steel plant in Alabama from ThyssenKrupp for $1.55 billion. He’s also reportedly bidding against the Jindal family (ranked 12) for Italy’s largest steel plant. Net Worth $15.8 Billion.
- The Hindujas: Encouraged by India’s new business-friendly government, the four siblings who control Hindujas Group, a multinational conglomerate that London-based brothers Srichand and Gopichand co-chair, say they are ready to invest as much as $10 billion in reviving stalled infrastructure and power projects. The clan’s wealth is up, partly on a rebound in the auto sector that boosted their Indian truck-maker Ashok Leyland’s shares. Value of their stake in IndusInd Bank jumped too, and is now worth $1 billion. In July, their oil and gas unit Gulf Oil India listed its lubricants business.
Fast Fact: Their London-listed Optare has supplied six electric buses to London’s bus fleet. Net Worth $13.3 Billion.
- Shiv Nadar: Tech billionaire, co-founder of the $6.5 billion (revenues) HCL Group, has added $3.9 billion on rising shares of software outfit HCL Technologies, which reported net profits of $1 billion on revenues of $5 billion in the financial year ending June. Nadar’s newest venture is in health care: He’s set up HCL Avitas to build a chain of clinics in partnership with John Hopkins Medicine International. The billionaire recently denied that he was mulling selling out, saying that his daughter Roshni (who is CEO of holding outfit HCL Corporation and sits on HCL Tech’s board) wants to keep the business.
Fast Fact: HCL plans to adopt and improve 100 Indian villages in three states. Net Worth $12.5 Billion.
- Adi Godrej: The clan whose fortune was earlier listed under group chairman Adi Godrej, owns the 117-year-old Godrej Group, a $4.5 billion (revenues) consumer goods empire that is making inroads abroad. Listed outfit Godrej Consumer Products, where the patriarch’s daughter Nisa works, now gets close to half of its $1.3 billion revenues from overseas markets in Asia, Africa and South America. The family wealth rose along with the value of their vast family estate in suburban Mumbai. They plan to develop it through listed real estate arm Godrej Properties, run by Adi’s son Pirojsha.
Fast Fact: Adi Godrej’s sister Smita Crishna-Godrej has bought a heritage house in south Mumbai belonging to Homi Bhabha, India’s atomic energy pioneer, for $60 million. Net Worth $11.6 Billion.
- Kumar Birla: The fourth generation head of commodities conglomerate Aditya Birla Group got a reprieve in August when he was cleared of his alleged involvement in a case involving the improper allocation of coal mines to aluminum maker Hindalco. But a court subsequently questioned the ‘hurry’ to give Birla a reprieve. The group’s chemical unit is expanding through acquisitions. In January, Birla sold Canada-based outsourcing arm Aditya Birla Minacs for $260 million.
Fast Fact: In April, wife Neerja opened a school in Mumbai for children with learning disabilities. Net Worth $9.2 Billion.
- Sunil Mittal: The telecom tycoon’s Bharti Airtel, the world’s fourth-largest mobile telephony firm by number of subscribers, crossed the milestone of 300 million customers. In a February government auction, Airtel bought additional telecom spectrum worth close to $3 billion. But it is awaiting approval for its $113 million purchase of rival Loop Mobile, which will make it the largest operator in Mumbai. To pare its $9.6 billion debt, Airtel sold some of its African telecom towers for $1.2 billion, and is reportedly in negotiations with American Tower Corporation for a further sale. Son Kavin’s messaging service Hike, a local WhatsApp clone developed in a joint venture with SoftBank, has notched up 20 million customers.
Fast Fact: His Bharti Foundation has pledged $16 million to building toilets in rural areas of Punjab from where he hails. Net Worth $7.8 Billion.